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Art in Ann Arbor


Pop-In for a Pop-Up: The Coolest Thing We've Done Up Til Now

Nick and I have been pondering over this idea for a while — a pop-up event. There are pop-up galleries, food stands, so why not a photo session? When we started talking about venues, we thought of lots of places to rent for the day. But what if, instead of paying a retail space, we could make a donation to one of the places that we love the most with the coolest people we work with? 826michigan and their Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair was a no-brainer!

From their literacy programs to after-school tutoring sessions to the professionally bound student books they publish, we are so proud to work with them on a regular basis. 

If you're not familiar with a pop-up, here are some questions you might have for us. And since we're kind of feeling it out too, we're open to suggestions. 

Q: How long is the photo session?

A: Great question! We ask that when parents call or email, they anticipate booking an hour, even though the approximate shoot time is 20 minutes. (We schedule three kids an hour but you get your own session time). That way if you're running late or your kid's feeling just a little shy that day, your time won't run out before we get some incredible photos.

Q: Do you offer prints?

A: Right now, no. The image files we send to you (less than 72 hours later) are high resolution and ready to print, share and post to your heart's content!

Q: How many kids can I have in a session?

A: Up to 2 is what we'll have lighting and backdrops for that day. If you're interested in booking a session for more than 2 people, we're always happy to accommodate. Simply make an appointment. 

Q: Can I (the parent) be in the photo shoot too? 

A: Yes! Please feel free to hop in for a few or for many of the photos. 

Q: What age is recommended?

A: 6 months and up. The reason for this is that we prefer models that can hold their own, or rather, sit up on their own. They make for the most active and precious photos, don't you think?

Q: What is the refund policy?

A: Because of the fundraising nature of this event, we cannot offer refunds. The packages however, are transferable. If you have to give up your slot, give your friend or family member your name and show up with the receipt. It's that simple!

Q: Can we show up without an appointment? 

A: We hope to take walk ins if not all spaces are filled, but there are only a handful to begin with. We will be updating our Facebook and Twitter feeds that day so be on the look out!

Q: When is the next Pop-In for a Pop-Up? 

A: Right now we're working on something for Spring 2014. If you have a venue or a suggestion on where you'd like to see one pop up, let us know! 

We hope to see you at the event! Onward robots!



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Wife Interviews Husband: Getting to Know Nick

We talk about art and photo and business. All. Day. Long.  Sometimes we need to take a moment to stop and appreciate all the incredibly cool things we've worked on. For today's post, I interviewed Nick and asked him a few things about his career and inspirations. Prepare to be surprised. I always am. 

We started the company two years ago this month. Photo from October, 2011.

We started the company two years ago this month. Photo from October, 2011.

Y: Where was your favorite location shoot and why?

N: My favorite location shoot was going to Singapore, although it didn't matter it was Singapore. It was the first time I really left the country and went somewhere that far from home. I was with Sciortino, but felt like I was all by myself. I've gone on other shoots I've really enjoyed, but the excitement of seeing how people on the other side of the world live and seeing how different landscapes can look was really humbling. The funny thing is I almost faked ill to get out of it because I didn't want to leave home...and you.

Y: Who was the most famous person(s) you've been on a shoot with? 

N: The most famous people I've worked with are Brett Favre, Stacy Keech, Louis Farrakhan. 

Y: What do you enjoy shooting the most?

N: I like shooting people that are aware of themselves.

Y: What sets you apart from other photographers in the area?

N: --------silence-------- 

Y: Where do you get your inspiration from for your fine art photos?

N: My work is usually based on something I've seen or experienced. Everything has a story or a control, for lack of a better description. I like my work to say something, whether people understand it or not. None of that "let it happen" bullshit. Photography is about control. Even the stuff that you can't control takes a good amount of control to achieve. 

Y: Who are your influences?

N: Arthur Fellig (Weegee), Chris Marker, Art Azzaro, Arnold Newman, definitely, definitely not ________, Jeff Sciortino, David Bowie, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and many more.

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An Education

Nick and I have both rounded out our professional tasks this Fall with the addition of teaching. It wasn't something that we set out to do but we're both big proponents of learning and by teaching we actually learn a lot about our craft and how to improve what we do.  

I've taught art classes since college, mostly K-12 in drawing, painting and ceramics and more recently pre-college courses in Fashion Illustration at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. But over the last few years I've had more interest in guiding people toward their achieving their goals. When I was at the gallery, recent grads would come seeking internships or placements but because the fine art world was and has always been a difficult landscape, I wouldn't be able to get them jobs right out school. There were a few exceptions, of course, but most had to travel a meandering route to get to where they wanted to be. And that's not so different than what I had to do to become Director at my last job. 

Witnessing the triumphs and lackluster job market, it has only driven me more to help students succeed. Next month I'll be lecturing at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design on breaking into the art world as an artist. From there a series of workshops will be tailored to fit the needs of those students that are most vested in making a profession out of being an artist or designer. Since this is the first program of its kind, this experiment will most certainly be a learning experience for me as well. I'll fill you in as the program grows. 

Over the last four months I've also taught private art lessons in people's homes. Ranging from elementary up to adults, people are seeking out fine art skills but with more personal attention. We get to talk much more in depth about abstraction or why something is a technical versus fine art drawing. It's really engaging both for them and for me.  

Nick is doing something very similar in his line of expertise. This past week he started working with Bright Futures, a program based out of Eastern Michigan University. He gets to work with high schoolers in the Ypsilanti public school system, teaching them digital photography with new Nikon DSLRs. He'll tackle composition, F-stops and exposures, lighting and all the fundamentals that will get them shooting their own professional portraits. There's been talk of an exhibition or publishing a book, or both. This type of initiative gives the students a chance to explore a profession with a professional before they reach college level. We're both really excited about this prospect and Nick loves sharing his knowledge of lighting, which is really what photography is all about. 

We've also had the chance recently to offer our food styling and photography as a day long workshop because people are interested in the tricks of the industry.

Like I said, teaching is not something that we set out to do but education is vitally important to every industry and job you could ever hold. If you have interest in learning about any aspect of what we do, art or photo-related, feel free to send us a note. 




Opening Pairing: Anthropologie + Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

This past Friday we attended the opening event at Anthropologie in Ann Arbor. As part of the new Arbor Hills Crossing shopping center in the middle of town, Anthro, as I like to call it, is a fashion highlight for young professional women and creatives. The company chose our alma mater, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design to receive percentage proceeds from the evening's sales. 

Nick shot some festive images for Anthropologie and the School. 

The evening was a smashing, shopping success - thanks to Anthropologie and A&D!

For fashion, commercial and event photos, call us at 734-929-2498



Artist Profile: Kelly Ventura for Crate & Barrel

Kelly and I met in Book Arts when we attended art school years ago. I always remembered her pieces for being subtle and thoughtfully brilliant. We crossed paths again in Chicago when she was showing her incredible fiber pieces at the gallery where I worked and at The Renegade Craft Fair. Now we're all back in the Ann Arbor area and Kelly is a full time product and surface designer. We were so thrilled to hear that a line of her illustrations had been picked up by Crate & Barrel to be reproduced for their Spring 2014 art print lineCongratulations, Kelly!

N captured some great shots of her working in the studio in preparation to send to C&B for their artist profile.


 Kelly works largely in watercolor and pen. She has a beautiful signature style that's whimsical and saturated with color.


See more of Kelly's work at and her Minted site. We can't wait for her collection to come out next spring - look out for it!

To have your works of art or yourself captured in the studio, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email us at




Mi Familia: A Family Portrait Session

Vince and Lisa (parents to yesterday's adorable Luigi) came out to the studio for their first family portrait session with us.

Not only were they a really photogenic family, they wasted no time getting into character and making eyes at the camera.

They felt right at home with each other and we got to see some goofy shots.

And some very sweet ones.

And no one had to hold a gun to dad's head for him to get silly.

For your family portrait session, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email


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Playtime: Old School with Mario + Luigi

Press 'play' on the video below. [youtube]

There. Now you have the perfect soundtrack for today's post.

Over the weekend we headed over to Photo Studio Group to photograph a pair of cousins. But it wasn't just your typical session. They wanted to play dress up...

Pretty darn adorable, don't you think?

There was a bit of vying for the Mario costume.

But sometimes a little competition is healthy.

To have your child photographed in costume, shoot us an email or call 734-929-2498

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First Date Jitters: Engagement Photos at The (Espresso) Bar

My sister Alice just got engaged to her beau John and we couldn't be happier, especially since they decided to have their engagement photos taken at one of the most authentic and delicious spots for coffee in town (their first date was here), the (espresso) bar. As it happens, coffee is good for you and the owner, Sandy, is the kind of person that remembers your drink even after a pregnancy hiatus.*

N got to catch some great shots of the couple in the well-appropriated space as well as enjoy some beautifully-crafted drinks.

Thank you, Sandy and the (espresso) bar staff for letting us take over your space. Check back for more photos from their new brunch menu soon. And Like them on Facebook for yummy updates everyday!

To book your engagement shoot, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email at

*Their affogato is crazy good.


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Good Times for a Good Cause: 826 Michigan's Annual Storymakers Dinner

Last night N photographed the 4th Annual Storymakers Dinner for 826 Michigan at Zingerman's Roadhouse. He shot the event last year and jumped at the chance to do it again. It's a really fun, laid back evening celebrating the literary accomplishments of students and the adults that help them. If you're not familiar with 826, you can check out their website here. This is their intro paragraph on the site:

826michigan is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students aged 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. 826 opened its doors in June of 2005. Since then, we have been blessed with students, tutors, and volunteers overflowing with enthusiasm.

We couldn't be happier to work with such a vital asset in our community. Last night's special guests included National Book Critics Circle Award recipient Deb Olin Unferth and former 826 student Saif Ghanem, whose essay "The Story of My Life" was included in the 826 National publication Be Honest, And Other Advice from Students Around the Country. 

If you're looking for an incredibly worthwhile organization to donate, volunteer or just learn more about, we urge you to find out more about 826 and visit The Robot Supply & Repair at 115 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor. Proceeds from sales of awesome robot goodies directly fund their literacy, tutoring and publishing programming. Can you tell we just love this place??

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Couples Photo Opp: Jason + Joe

Our dear friends Jason and Joe visited us over the weekend and mentioned they needed a photo of themselves for a family project. N jumped at the opportunity and brought along lighting since we were planning on shooting close to dusk and it had been cloudy most of the day. As we walked back to their B&B, it started to drizzle and we took cover on the front porch. Moments later, the clouds parted and rays of light splayed across the "set." Foregoing the lighting, he was able to catch some great snapshots with natural light. Here are a few of our favorites of the handsome couple. For portraits, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or